So I’ve been to the 29th Chaos Communication congress or as it’s called 29C3. 6000 people over 4 days 10 minutes from my door. Impressive. Short list of highlights from a person that’s used to LCA or GUADEC:

  • entirely volunteer-run
  • the audience is young
  • very wide-ranging topics (security, politics, activism, lockpicking – I only missed engineering)
  • international high-caliber varied talks (my favorites being Jacob Appelbaum, DJB, Violet Blue)
  • Internet works all the time (8 of 30Gbps max usage)
  • own cell phone network
  • very central location
  • a really nice mood
  • great marketing and press cooperation
  • working live streams from FEM of every talk
  • every talk in German live-translated into English
  • videos available on Youtube and via FTP on the same day.
  • I didn’t see any numbers, but would expect ~10% females.
  • the same gender issues exist, too.
  • I very much enjoyed the Germanness of the conference.
  • Everyone spoke English fluently. So I probably shouldn’t be proud of my English abilities.

My only problem: I perceive myself as an engineer, not as a hacker. It’s extremely interesting, but not quite the world I get excited about. But I’ll definitely be back next year.


#1 Juanjo Marin on 12.31.12 at 10:42

I thought you were a GTK+ hacker :-)

#2 Benjamin Otte on 12.31.12 at 10:59

That word is funny, isn’t it? The hacker culture as practiced there is about taking things apart; finding holes in it; making it do stuff it’s not supposed to do; trying out creative ways to achieve something. While the FLOSS developers themselves are people that want to build something. They are interested in creating a thing that performs the job it’s supposed to do and performs it well. Which is what I call engineering. I have no idea why the word hacker is used for that purpose. Probably because those 2 groups are pretty close and there’s a lot of crossbreeding and pollination going on.